Having settled down at the Silver Unicorn Inn that night (operated by Wisara Osterman), Ortherion explained that he had heard of the Heroes’ good deeds, and asked them to investigate rumours of demon-worshipping activity in Thunderspire—possibly another cult devoted to Orcus (a rival of the Raven Queen), or worse. Since they were already headed to Thunderspire to investigate the Bloodreavers (as a favor to Lord Padraig), the Heroes agreed to help Ortherion and would report back to him with their findings.
The following day, after restocking for some supplies, the group took the Trade Road for the better part of a day until they reached the Vale Road, which turned north and cut into the mountain, leading to Thunderspire’s base. They passed some homes in the vale on their way to the mountain. The entrance to the mountain was the Minotaur Gate, a 50 foot stone archway hewn out of the mountainside, with a towering minotaur statute standing on each side of the entrance, glowering down on travelers.
Once in the mountain, the heroes proceeded towards the Seven-Pillared Hall along the Road of Lanterns. Green light from copper lanterns dimly illuminated the large (30’ wide and 30’ high) brick-vaulted passage, which sloped steadily downward over several switchbacks. Along the way, the Heroes counted numerous (70+) demon statutes, each over ten feet tall, standing watch along the corridor. As the Heroes made their way down the passageway, they noticed light spilling out of a partially open door a short way down a side passage. Nearing the passage, the group heard coarse laughter and guttural voices. A rough voice, speaking Common, said, “You’re ours now, Halfling. We’ll easily get ten gold for you.” Another voice responded, “That’s a shame, ‘cause I’m worth twenty! I’ll buy myself if you let me go.” Suspecting that this might be some slavers, the party charged into the room, finding a small storeroom with five large hobgoblin soldiers threatening a halfling, along with another hobgoblin dressed in red robes and carrying a quarterstaff. Upon seeing the heroes, the leader ordered them to capture them—more slaves for the Bloodreavers. Combat ensued, and the Halfling promptly ducked under a table to hide during the fight. Merrick was the first in the room and attacked one of the soldiers before he could fully put up a defense. Niall rushed in with him, and when the soldier tried to kill Merrick, Niall wounded him and drew blood. Aramil unleashed a spell that injured several soldiers, and Zakhar charged and immediately put another one on the defensive, while Theron and Malkyr also went on the attack. The warcaster, although bold in his predictions, did not find the Heroes such easy prey, and the battle soon started to tip in the party’s favor. The first soldier, harried by both Niall and Merrick, could not defend against both; Merrick pierced him through the eye with his rapier. Niall bloodied the soldier who was battling Zakhar, while Aramil, Zakhar and Malkyr brought another to the brink of death. The warcaster’s spells were not as powerful or as effective as Aramil’s, and once Niall crushed the skull of a second soldier, the rout was on. Theron ran one soldier through while Zakhar decapitated another, and Merrick, flanking the last soldier with an ally, caught him unawares and stabbed him through the back of the throat, killing him. The warcaster never sought to bargain for his life, and paid dearly, as the rest of the Heroes ganged up on him. Although they thought about taking him alive, that was easier said than done, and he died from his injuries.
After the battled concluded, the halfling introduced himself as Rendil Halfmoon. He explained that he lived in the Seven-Pillared Hall and ran the Halfmoon Inn, which he explained was the best (and only) inn this side of the Labyrinth. Rendil explained that he was tailing the hobgoblins, who were hanging around the inn the day before, trying to figure out what they were up to, when he was caught. He knows that they were Bloodreavers, who, he explained hide out in the Chamber of Eyes. He explained that those “filthy muck-eaters” were thieves and slavers, although not necessarily in that order. Since he wanted to see someone teach them a lesson, and the Heroes seemed to have a score to settle with the Bloodreavers, he offered to tell them how to find the Chamber of Eyes, since it was easy to get lost in the Labyrinth. Rendill also explained that Bennik the Wanderer, a halfling minstrel that frequently played at the Inn, had gone missing, and he suspected the Bloodreavers.
Before leaving for the Seven-Pillared Hall, Rendil explained that if they were looking for work, they certainly could find it, but they had best stay on Brugg’s good side, seeing as how they wouldn’t want him or the Mages of Saruun (who Brugg worked for) to pay more attention to them.
When the group arrived at the Seven-Pillared Hall, they met Brugg right away—a tall, nasty ogre who was so big he looked like he could pulverize the heroes with one slam of his meaty fist. He warned them not to cause any trouble in the Hall, or they would have trouble with him—and they would not like that. The Heroes were properly deferential, and did not invoke Brugg’s wrath.
Exploring the Hall, they made their way to Gendar’s Curios and Relics, where they met Gendar, a drow merchant sporting an eyepatch who was awaiting a shipment from Bairwin Wildarson—a package that the heroes just happened to have. The group turned over the package, which turned out to be an ancient tiefling-made dagger, a rare collectible. In exchange, Gendar provided them with a set of drow fortune stones to return to Bairwin. Since they seemed to be a discreet bunch, he asked them if they were looking for any work, since he had some matters that needed attending. Gendar explained that he had acquired an ancient skull scepter from the Bone Chamber, near the cisterns in the Seven-Pillared Hall, but lost it when his agents were ambushed by the duergar. He believes that they are in the Horned Hold, and explained that he would pay them handsomely—300 gold for merely obtaining the scepter.
Gendar also happened to have some information for sale, the group discovered, and with some smooth talking, they learned that not only had Bennik gone missing, but Famhir, a worker at Rothar’s Taproom (a local alehouse in the Seven-Pillared Hall) had also not been seen in days.
XP: 900 (150 each)